There is No Justification for the Terror in the U.S.S.R. in the 1930's I agree more with the statement ‘There can be no justification
for the “terror” in the USSR in the 1930’s. It was motivated
purely by Stalin’s lust for power.’ However, I can understand why
one could say that terror was essential for the survival of the
new communist state or Soviet Union. Stalin used terror to force
the USSR to industrialise quickly, which enabled them to ward off
the threat from fascism and develop into a world power.
Source I, written by Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987 a few years before
communism fell in Russia, appears to be relatively balanced. It does
not accuse Stalin of using ‘terror’ methods, however is does not
overly praise him either. ‘Yes industrialisation… was indispensable..’
saying that Stalin needed to industrialise in the 1930’s to combat the
increasing threat of fascism. However, I believe that although
industrialisation was indispensable it could have occurred without the
use of “terror.” Gorbachev seems to make the point, though, that with
the benefit of hindsight, we can be critical of the way Stalin went
about the rapid industrialisation but, I think at the time, the threat
of fascism, being left behind industrially and preserving the new
communist state was a major concern to Stalin. Gorbachev also
mentioned that the tactics were contradictory to the principles of
socialism, which was a negative. Source I is a reasonably reliable
source because Gorbachev is the leader of Russia, at the time of the
writing, and therefore would have access to confidential files.
However, he could not speak freely to an extent because, as the leader
of the USSR, speaking to harshly about Stalin could be seen as
criticising the communist regime.
Source K partly agrees with Statement B because it states ‘without
terror, who would have failed to notice the clear absurdity of
Stalin’s rule?’ This shows that terror was necessary for Stalin to
remain in power, and I think that Stalin was crucial to the survival
of the USSR in these early days because without Stalin as a strong
leader there might have been a power struggle, which may have made the
USSR more vulnerable when Hitler invaded. Source K states that Stalin
needed to use terror to keep the people ‘obedient’ and more
importantly to make them ‘believe in him’. It seems that in the end
the Source believes he was a ‘ruthless politician’ who was corrupted
by power. Source K is reliable because, Adam Ulam, a historian in
Britain writes it. It is written in 1974 and, therefore, Ulam has
hindsight and large amounts of sources available for him to use.
Source J generally agrees with Statement A because it states ‘Stalin
was convinced that this...